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The mud run story

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let's see: goal #1 was don't get injured. emoticon Crossed finish line in an upright position with a smile on my face.

Goal #2 was don't lose the car key. emoticon I tied it around my waist on a shoestring... with a knot I had to wait to dry off before I was able to untie it to drive home.

Goal #3 was to have fun in spite of myself.

The story: I was channeling my father. I have to arrive early. Besides, it looked like rain and I was afraid the parking would turn into mud, not just the course, so I did arrive early enough to get to park on pavement.

I took a before picture of me, clean. Notice I swapped out for the old glasses, I didn't want to lose the new ones if anything happened... but I strapped 'em on, just in case.

I prepped the car for the inevitable "not so clean" drive home. I have learned how to keep the seats clean.

So then I am milling about the crowd... it really did look like rain.

I found race numbers 1 & 2 also milling about. These gals had driven up from Georgia for this event. Apparently they have a local cousin here. We got to talking, and it turned out that one of these ladies was my age group competition in the 10K. She looked awesome. We talked about line up pace and she gave a number that was faster than my own, so I figure, oh, well, silver is a nice color. She told me she'd looked up on line and we were the only two 50-59 year old females doing the 10K, unless someone showed up at the last minute to participate.

The weather was perfect, in my mind. Cool, but not cold. Shivering just a bit... 60, according to my deck thermometer before I left the house.

I dropped back to the tier that matched what I hoped would be about a 10 minute mile pace. I chatted up a couple of gents who lined up the same. And a few younger women.

The first wave started... and we started forward... it was a narrow chute start, so it got to a point and they stopped us, cold! Made us wait until the first wave cleared the first bend. My competitor was in that first group, I thought, but I really wasn't giving it much thought by that time. I was, in fact, going zen on myself: "It's just another workout. Run easy." That's what I tell myself every race... it's just another workout. Have fun with it.

They let us go, and we started forward. I settled into an easy pace before the first set of obstacles, which they had named the "tubes of fun". As we started, so did the rain. The glasses got spotted almost immediately. I was listening to another runner wishing she had worn a hat... I had figured a hat would have been just another thing to lose in the obstacles, so didn't bother... and ran on, mostly blind.

After that first set of tubes to run around or vault over (runner's choice)... the first half of the 10K was pretty much a straight trail run on gravel.

Then you got to take a sharp right down steps to the first creek crossing and up through forest. First mud pit. More running. "The Great Escape"... gotta be walls... well, it was... but they had side by side taller/shorter walls, and I picked the shorter in each of two. There was a waiting line for the walls, and the rules said you could not go around until the person ahead of you got over... so why not try going over?

They had great support staff there to coach you over the walls and in some cases even give a hand up or spot your drop down on the other side... enough to help an old lady have the confidence she's not going to hurt herself. I got over! First one, then the next, taller one.

So high after that I'm jogging on air... until the cargo-net covered mud pit #2... a runner ahead of me had lost his/her race bib, and I tried to help free it. Big mistake. In the process, my hair tied itself to the cargo net! What's a gal to do? I've already gone over 3 miles, nearly 4... there's a race to finish!

So I grabbed hold by the root and anchored the hair, and told the volunteer to go ahead and yank that net free, since he didn't have a knife or scissors to cut me loose. He asked was I OK after... I was fine... I'd been freed of a trap and was running onward!

Under/over/under came next. Another deeper creek crossing. A mud pit on the far side of a hurdle. A tire pit on mud footing. Then the slip and slide into the main mud pit, and the final balance beam before running the remainder of the last mile.

As I was rounding the bend, I was listening to the announcer give names of the finishers, and my competitor's name was announced. A couple minutes later, I was across the line myself, feeling really, really good, and marvelling that I wasn't winded or achy or anything... I felt good and fit and wonderful.

Can't really ask for more than that. Sprayed off, turned in the chip and changed into clean outer layer at the tailgate. I meandered into the party venue where they had a bluegrass band playing, and the started showing video from the race... so cool. We're a special breed, you know, those of us who "event".

We talked about the obstacles, told one another how emoticon we all are... and eventually they got around to handing out the medals. My mind was saying silver, still. But when it came down to it... they announced her name as the silver medalist. And mine as gold. Turns out, because she started in wave 1, and I in wave 2? Chip time had us only 26 seconds apart... mine was 1 hour, even. Hers 1:00:26. Wow! An incredibly close finish... and you could have knocked me over with a feather. We even asked them "are you sure" and had them double check the results.

Because I would hate to rob someone else of a medal they earned. But when I think through it, it makes sense. I did it. And without skipping obstacles. What a rush.

So now, the medal snap, courtesy of a bystander:
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